Category Archives: Photography

Rediscovering A Passion

Setting up the D7100 for the evening.
Setting up the D7100 for the evening.
I bought my first SLR, the Nikon D80, in 2007 not long after my daughter Amanda was born.

Like any new parent, I was eager to get the best possible photos of my child and I always liked photography but never actually spent money to get a good camera. I had always used point and shoot cameras and never understood or cared to learn about the underlying principles of photography.

With the D80 and armed with knowledge from reading Bryan Peterson’s fantastic book, Understanding Exposure, I set out to see the world through the lens of my camera.

It had become quite a fun hobby – a creative outlet that I was lacking and needed.

Flash forward a few years and I was hardly shooting. It was getting harder to find time to go out and shoot. I was preoccupied with other stuff in life. Worst of all I was lacking inspiration.

This year, I have made the time to get behind the camera and enjoy it once again. I re-read Understanding Exposure, cleaned up all my glass, and headed outdoors.

Empire State Building
Empire State Building

I am now pushing my comfort zone more than ever with higher ISO settings, shutter speed priority, etc. Rediscovering the fun in finding that one really good shot that you’d be proud to frame on your wall.

One big change I have made is that instead of just going out with my camera to find things to shoot, now I figure out what I’d like to shoot before I go out. This way I can plan on a time of day, what gear to bring, etc. Planning has made my trips out with the camera much more satisfying, and a much better yield of “keepers” from the day’s shoot.

I have no illusion about being a professional. I know the limits of my skill and I like doing it on my terms and not under pressure for a paid job. But I have taken quite a few shots I am proud of and have a hell of a lot of fun doing it.

Find that thing you enjoy and get back at it!

Cheers,
–Jon

734 Days

High ISO fun
High ISO fun
Yet again I have managed to neglect my blog for far too long while consumed with various other activities. 734 days of neglect to be exact.

These days outside of work and family my free time has been spent improving my photography skills, learning new technology, and quite a bit of reading.

Perhaps the biggest change over the past couple of years has been my purchase of a Nikon D7100 to replace my old Nikon D80.

The D80 was great for my first SLR and is still a fine camera but just as we see with anything else in technology, things constantly improve.

The one factor that stands out to me as the biggest difference between the two cameras is the high ISO capability of the D7100. While the D80 could theoretically shoot at up to ISO 3200, the quality was unacceptable without a lot of post-production work. Even then the photos were quite noisy. Best bet was to stay below ISO 800 which basically handicaps one third of the exposure triangle.

With the D7100, I have gotten usable, quality shots at as high as ISO 6400 such as the photo above in this post. This has unlocked a great deal of potential I did not have before, especially in low light settings.

I will be posting more detailed examples when time permits.

Aside from photography I’ve made it my mission to master Ruby on Rails this year. It has matured a LOT since I first looked at it some years ago. The way I see it, it never hurts to broaden your skill set.

The thing about Rails that impresses me most is how quick I can go from idea to prototype codebase just sitting down and dabbling. Some of my PHP friends might not want to hear it, but Rails is a better framework than most of the comparable PHP options.

Until next time – hopefully not another 700+ days away!

Cheers,
–Jon